EAGLE POINT, Ala. (WIAT) — Saturday marks two years since an EF-3 tornado tore through parts of Shelby County, leaving many homes damaged.
A common theme among many who lived through the 2021 tornado is taking storm preparations more seriously and making sure they have multiple ways to get weather alerts.
“I never want to do that again,” Cahaba Valley Fire Battalion Chief Micah Woodley said.
Woodley spent March 25, 2021, in the middle of Highway 280, organizing tornado damage control.
“First thing that came out was vehicle versus tree on Highway 280 in an area where a car can’t hit a tree. So, I ran out the door to figure out what was going on with that and I saw it was a large tree that had come down on a car,” says Woodley.
Woodley says his crew learned a lot from that day. In a post-incident report, he says they made a long list of things that needed to change to make sure the department is even more prepared.
The crew on duty at Cahaba Valley Fire and Rescue for Friday night’s expected storms, the same crew that responded after the tornado.
“There’s a lot going on in the back of our minds, but you know, we’re just trying to stay positive,” says Woodley.
Eagle Point was one of the neighborhoods hit by the tornado. The Homeowners Association said about a third of the homes were heavily damaged and most have since been rebuilt.
“Quite a voyage over the last two years between insurance companies, most of them have been well, a couple of them haven’t been,” Eagle Point HOA vice president Don DeCesare said. “We have at least three or four homeowners that have not even started due to insurance issues.”
The community says it’s bonded after going through the storm together.
“What was so wonderful about this whole neighborhood is the helpfulness to each other and some of the other neighborhoods that came in here,” says DeCesare.
After seeing all of the devastation from the 2021 tornado, DeCesare now calls his insurance company every couple of years to make sure everything is up to date and he’s covered in anything he might need.
“Hundreds of trees down, houses gone, houses damaged. Our house was about one-third roof gone,” says DeCesare.
Cahaba Valley Fire and Rescue say the time to prepare for Friday’s overnight storms is before going to sleep, having a “go kit” and safe spot ready.